MIT aims to print robots in a day

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An MIT will develop a desktop technology to allow “the average person” to design and print a robot in hours.

“This research envisions a whole new way of thinking about the design and manufacturing of robots, and could have a profound impact on society,” said project leader Professor Daniela Rus.

The five-year project, called ‘An expedition in computing for compiling printable programmable machines’, brings together MIT, the University of Pennsylvania and Harvard.

The dream is that an individual with a household problem could go to a nearby 3D printing firm, select from a library of robotic designs, customise it appropriately, and have it made.

“Within 24 hours, the robot would be printed, assembled, programmed and ready for action,” said MIT.

Project researchers are currently focusing on: developing an application programming interface for simple function specification and design; writing algorithms that control the assembly of a device and its operations; creating an easy-to-use programming language; and designing programmable materials that would allow for automatic fabrication.

Two robots have come from a prototype of the process: an insect-like perambulator (see photo) and a gripper.

Tags: Harvard, MIT, Pennsylvania, print, robot

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